The Texas Supreme court recently approved new standards for certification in civil trial law. Over the past year, the Texas Board of Legal Specialization worked with the court, members of the TBLS Advisory and Exam Commissions in Civil Trial Law, and the Litigation Section of the State Bar of Texas to review standards and best practices.

The primary focus of the revisions is to make the standards more flexible in the following ways:

  1. Allow federal court trials to count toward the certification requirements, along with trials in Texas courts.
  2. Allow an applicant to substitute no more than three of the following matters (in any combination) for a nonjury trial:
  • Out of state civil jury.
  • Cases that concluded before submission to the jury or court but after opening statement and the examination of witnesses.
  • Arbitrations in which formal rules of evidence and procedure were used.
  • A criminal jury trial.
  • A contested administrative agency proceeding involving a hearing on the merits and direct and cross-examination of witnesses.
  • A temporary injunction that involved opening and closing statements and direct and cross-examination of witnesses.

These changes are effective for the 2016 application-filing period. Online applications have recently been updated with new criteria and instructions. For more information, go to